Landscape Ecology

, Volume 32, Issue 8, pp 1543–1552 | Cite as

Alternative characterization of forest fire regimes: incorporating spatial patterns

  • Brandon M. Collins
  • Jens T. Stevens
  • Jay D. Miller
  • Scott L. Stephens
  • Peter M. Brown
  • Malcolm P. North
Short Communication

Abstract

Context

The proportion of fire area that experienced stand-replacing fire effects is an important attribute of individual fires and fire regimes in forests, and this metric has been used to group forest types into characteristic fire regimes. However, relying on proportion alone ignores important spatial characteristics of stand-replacing patches, which can have a strong influence on post-fire vegetation dynamics.

Objectives

We propose a new more ecologically relevant approach for characterizing spatial patterns of stand-replacing patches to account for potential limitation of conifer seed dispersal.

Methods

We applied a simple modified logistic function to describe the relationship between the proportion of total stand-replacing patch area and an interior buffer distance on stand-replacing patches.

Results

This approach robustly distinguishes among different spatial configurations of stand-replacing area in both theoretical and actual fires, and does so uniquely from commonly used descriptors of spatial configuration.

Conclusions

Our function can be calculated for multiple fires over a given area, allowing for meaningful ecological comparisons of stand-replacing effects among different fires and regions.

Keywords

Stand replacing patches High severity Fire severity Fire ecology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many of the ideas that spawned this work originated on a fire science retreat led by Hugh Safford and Christina Restaino, which was partially supported by the USDA Forest Service and the California Fire Science Consortium. This work was also supported by a research partnership between the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources (Project No. 16-JV-11272167-063).

Supplementary material

10980_2017_528_MOESM1_ESM.docx (267 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 266 kb)

References

  1. Agee JK (1993) Fire ecology of Pacific Northwest forests. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Agee JK (1998) The landscape ecology of Western forest fire regimes. Northwest Sci 72:24–34Google Scholar
  3. Brown PM, Wienk CL, Symstad AJ (2008) Fire and forest history at Mount Rushmore. Ecol Appl 18:1984–1999CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Cansler CA, McKenzie D (2014) Climate, fire size, and biophysical setting control fire severity and spatial pattern in the northern Cascade Range, USA. Ecol Appl 24:1037–1056CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Chambers ME, Fornwalt PJ, Malone SL, Battaglia MA (2016) Patterns of conifer regeneration following high severity wildfire in ponderosa pine—dominated forests of the Colorado Front Range. For Ecol Manag 378:57–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark JS, Silman M, Kern R, Macklin E, HilleRisLambers J (1999) Seed dispersal near and far: patterns across temperate and tropical forests. Ecology 80:1475–1494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Collins BM, Stephens SL (2010) Stand-replacing patches within a ‘mixed severity’ fire regime: quantitative characterization using recent fires in a long-established natural fire area. Landscape Ecol 25:927–939Google Scholar
  8. Collins BM, Roller GB (2013) Early forest dynamics in stand-replacing fire patches in the northern Sierra Nevada, California, USA. Landscape Ecol 28:1801–1813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coppoletta M, Merriam KE, Collins BM (2016) Post-fire vegetation and fuel development influences fire severity patterns in reburns. Ecol Appl 26:686–699CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Fulé PZ, Covington WW, Moore MM (1997) Determining reference conditions for ecosystem management of southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Ecol Appl 7:895–908CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harvey BJ, Donato DC, Turner MG (2016) Drivers and trends in landscape patterns of stand-replacing fire in forests of the US Northern Rocky Mountains (1984–2010). Landscape Ecol 31(10):2367–2383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hessburg PF, Spies TA, Perry DA, Skinner CN, Taylor AH, Brown PM, Stephens SL, Larson AJ, Churchill DJ, Povak NA, Singleton PH, McComb B, Zielinski WJ, Collins BM, Salter RB, Keane JJ, Franklin JF, Riegel G (2016) Tamm review: management of mixed-severity fire regime forests in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. For Ecol Manag 366:221–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kemp KB, Higuera PE, Morgan P (2016) Fire legacies impact conifer regeneration across environmental gradients in the U.S. northern Rockies. Landscape Ecol 31:619–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lydersen JM, Collins BM, Miller JD, Fry DL, Stephens SL (2016) Relating fire-caused change in forest structure to remotely sensed estimates of fire severity. Fire Ecol 12:99–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McDonald PM (1980) Seed dissemination in small clearcuttings in north-central California. General Technical Report PSW-150. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Berkeley, CA, USA, p 5Google Scholar
  16. McGarigal K, Cushman SA, Neel MC, Ene E (2002) FRAGSTATS v3: spatial pattern analysis program for categorical and continuous maps. University of Massachusetts, AmherstGoogle Scholar
  17. Miller JD, Quayle B (2015) Calibration and validation of immediate post-fire satellite derived data to three severity metrics. Fire Ecol 11:12–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Miller JD, Thode AE (2007) Quantifying burn severity in a heterogeneous landscape with a relative version of the delta Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR). Remote Sens Environ 109:66–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miller JD, Safford HD, Crimmins M, Thode AE (2009) Quantitative evidence for increasing forest fire severity in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada, USA. Ecosystems 12:16–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miller JD, Collins BM, Lutz JA, Stephens SL, van Wagtendonk JW, Yasuda DA (2012) Differences in wildfires among ecoregions and land management agencies in the Sierra Nevada region, California, USA. Ecosphere 3:80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Odion DC, Hanson CT, Arsenault A, Baker WL, DellaSala DA, Hutto RL, Klenner W, Moritz MA, Sherriff RL, Veblen TT, Williams MA (2014) Examining historical and current mixed-severity fire regimes in ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests of western North America. PLoS ONE 9:e87852CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Perry DA, Hessburg PF, Skinner CN, Spies TA, Stephens SL, Taylor AH, Franklin JF, McComb B, Riegel G (2011) The ecology of mixed severity fire regimes in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. For Ecol Manag 262:703–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schoennagel T, Veblen TT, Romme WH (2004) The interaction of fire, fuels, and climate across Rocky Mountain forests. Bioscience 54:661–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Stevens JT, Safford HD, Harrison S, Latimer AM (2015) Forest disturbance accelerates thermophilization of understory plant communities. J Ecology 103:1253–1263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Swanson ME, Franklin JF, Beschta RL, Crisafulli CM, Dellasala DA, Hutto RL, Lindenmayer DB, Swanson FJ (2011) The forgotten stage of forest succession: early-successional ecosystems on forest sites. Front Ecol Environ 9:117–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Swetnam TW, Allen CD, Betancourt JL (1999) Applied historical ecology: using the past to manage for the future. Ecol Appl 9:1189–1206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taylor AH (2004) Identifying forest reference conditions on early cut-over lands, Lake Tahoe Basin, USA. Ecol Appl 14:1903–1920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Turner MG, Romme WH, Gardner RH, Hargrove WW (1997) Effects of fire size and pattern on early succession in Yellowstone National Park. Ecol Monogr 67:411–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. van Wagtendonk JW (2006) Fire as a physical process. In: Sugihara NG, van Wagtendonk JW, Shaffer KE, Fites-Kaufman JA, Thode AE (eds) Fire in California’s ecosystems. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 38–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wu J, Shen W, Sun W, Tueller PT (2002) Empirical patterns of the effects of changing scale on landscape metrics. Landscape Ecol 17:761–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon M. Collins
    • 1
  • Jens T. Stevens
    • 2
  • Jay D. Miller
    • 3
  • Scott L. Stephens
    • 2
  • Peter M. Brown
    • 4
  • Malcolm P. North
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Center for Fire Research and OutreachUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Ecosystem Sciences Division, Department of Environmental Science Policy and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, Fire and Aviation ManagementMcClellanUSA
  4. 4.Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring ResearchFort CollinsUSA
  5. 5.USDA Forest ServicePacific Southwest Research StationDavisUSA
  6. 6.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations